Can dog crates be stacked?

Is stacking dog crates safe? Do airlines do it? So, can dog crates be stacked? Let’s take a look at why we might want to stack dog crates in our homes, and vehicles and whether the professionals do it too.

Why you might want to stack dog crates


Professional Dog Walkers, Commercial pet transporters, and owners taking their dogs to shows or competitions might all want to stack dog crates in their vehicles. And yes, airlines stack crates in their holds.

Crates used in vehicles are typically purpose built for the particular make and model of vehicle, and fixed to the vehicle itself to reduce movement.

Breeders / Groomers / Training Facility

Breeders might want to stack crates to save on floorspace, groomers might use them to hold the next dog to be clipped, or one who is waiting to be collected by their owners and training facilities might want to stack to save space.

Space Saving at Home

You might wonder if you can stack crates to save floorspace in a multi-dog household. Read on to find out why this isn’t recommended.

Storage (Empty)

If you have the space, you might wonder about storing your empty crates on top of each other and if it damages them. Stacking wire crates without folding them won’t damage them but they can bend if any weight it put on top of them so if you’re storing them that way be sure to keep the tops clear.

Plastic crates are generally lighter than wire crates so are easily knocked or bumped into and can fall off and crack. Much better to disassemble plastic crates and store them the way they came out of the box originally, with one half nestled inside the other.


Should you stack crates with dogs in them?

Stacking loose dog crates with dogs inside is generally not recommended, and it can pose several risks to the well-being and safety of the animals. However, purpose built multi level dog crates, such as those that are built into the rear of a vehicle, are perfectly safe.

Here are some reasons why it’s not advisable to stack individual wire mesh or plastic dog crates with dogs inside:

  1. Safety Concerns:
    • Stacking crates with dogs inside can lead to instability and an increased risk of the stacked crates toppling over, potentially causing injuries to the dogs.
  2. Ventilation:
    • Proper ventilation is essential for the well-being of dogs. Stacking crates may limit airflow, leading to inadequate ventilation, especially for the lower crates.
  3. Stress and Anxiety:
    • Dogs can experience stress and anxiety when confined, and stacking crates may exacerbate these feelings. Being stacked can be disorienting and frightening for dogs.
  4. Difficulty in Access:
    • In case of an emergency or if immediate access to a specific dog is needed, it can be challenging to reach and retrieve a dog from a lower crate in a stack.
  5. Behavioral Issues:
    • Stacking dogs in crates may lead to behavioral issues, as dogs may become agitated or exhibit signs of distress due to the close proximity of other dogs in the stacked crates.
  6. Hygiene
    • Dogs in the crate above may inappropriately toilet and cause hygiene issues for the dog crated below.

Stacking dog crates during travel

Airlines often specify that dog crates used for air travel must have a solid top for several reasons related to the safety and well-being of the animals, as well as the practicalities of air travel:

  1. Stacking Crates:
    • During air transport, crates are often stacked on top of each other to maximize space within the cargo hold. A solid top provides a stable surface for the next crate to be placed securely, preventing the risk of collapse or damage to the crates below.
  2. Preventing Escape:
    • A solid top helps prevent dogs from attempting to escape or poke their heads out during the flight. This is important for the safety of the animal, as well as for the safety of airline personnel who handle the crates.
  3. Protection from External Objects:
    • A solid top offers protection to the animal inside the crate from potential external objects or debris that could enter the crate during handling or turbulence.
  4. Stability During Turbulence:
    • A solid top contributes to the overall stability of the crate, especially during turbulent conditions. This is important to prevent injuries to the dog and to ensure the crate remains intact.
  5. Security and Containment:
    • A solid top enhances the overall security and containment of the dog within the crate. It reduces the likelihood of the dog being exposed to external stimuli, which can be stressful for the animal during air travel.

Welfare Considerations

Laws regarding the stacking of dog crates can vary depending on the jurisdiction and the specific circumstances. In many places, there are general animal welfare laws that require owners or caretakers to provide humane and safe conditions for animals, including those kept in crates. However, these laws may not explicitly address the issue of stacking crates.

Regulations and guidelines related to the housing and transportation of animals are often more specific and can vary by region, country, or state. For example:

  1. Transportation Regulations:
    • Some regions may have regulations regarding the transportation of animals, including specifications on crate size, ventilation, and the overall safety of the transport arrangement. Stacking crates during transportation may need to comply with these regulations.
  2. Kennel and Shelter Standards:
    • Kennels, breeding facilities, and animal shelters may be subject to specific standards and regulations that dictate how animals are housed. This might include guidelines on the size of enclosures and how animals are separated.
  3. Animal Cruelty Laws:
    • General animal cruelty laws often require that animals be kept in conditions that ensure their well-being. If stacking crates leads to overcrowded, unsafe, or unsanitary conditions that harm the animals, it may be a violation of these laws.

It’s essential for individuals, businesses, and organizations to be aware of and comply with local and national regulations pertaining to the care, housing, and transportation of animals. Failure to do so could result in legal consequences, including fines or other penalties.

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All articles on are written by qualified behaviorist and dog trainer, Cheryl Walker.


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